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Write and Complete a paper of approximately 2000 words based on the essay question can humans be happy in civilization?
With reference to Freud's civilization and its discontents.

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HAPPINESS AND THE—DISCOVERED OR CREATED?

The impetus for this discussion is a short section from Freud’s Studies on Hysteria, where Freud describes a common experience from his psychoanalytic practice: As a result of prior sessions, a patient points out that his mental health is dependent on his circumstances and past experiences, which cannot be altered – but then how could Freud possibly help? Freud responds by readily acceding the point, but goes on to counsel that therapy will help by “transforming [his] hysterical misery into [mere] common unhappiness.” What is particularly striking about this exchange, for the present discussion, is not Freud’s modest response but rather the following implication: A person’s happiness and unhappiness are inescapably dependent on the person’s stance about the nature and state of her self. In other words, a person’s understanding of and evaluation of her self, and how that self relates to circumstances dictated by the world, underwrite her happiness. Premised on this assumption, I discuss the possibility that there is no coherent answer to the question of whether human beings can be happy in civilization; that is, the question is nonsensical. I argue that this is implicit in Freud’s views on happiness, but that Richard Rorty’s Freudian notion of the contingent self best elucidates the nonsensical nature of the question of whether we can be happy in civilization: We cannot, because there is no such thing as a universal-to-all, ahistorical, contingencies-independent self which could be happy in the way implied by the question.
Freud’s thoughts on happiness from Civilization and Its Discontents are discussed first. Then, Rorty’s account of selfhood is presented, together with a presentation of the philosophically traditional, Platonist view of the self that Rorty opposes. Finally, two objections to Rorty’s view are presented: one in terms of a possible mediation between Rorty’s account and the Platonist position, and the other in terms of Freud’s...

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